By: Maddie Boyer

We’ve just about hit that time of year where the fatigue is setting in. You’re working so hard, Deacs, so it’s completely normal if you feel antsy sitting through another online class. With the right mindset and tools, you can stay focused during your Zoom lecture and make it a great experience.

Maintain a Routine

You probably had a morning routine for in-person classes; why change now? Even if your commute to class this year is only from your bed to your desk, taking the time in the morning to wake up and prepare sets the tone for the whole day. Make yourself some breakfast and coffee (if that’s your thing) and get your notes in order or go for a run. Whatever your routine is, slowing down your morning will keep your stress levels down and your focus high.

Dress for Success

Trust me, we’ve all been there. With only the top half of your body on camera, it can be so tempting to roll onto Zoom in your pajamas. However, dressing for success can make such a difference, and now that we’re not in a classroom, convincing your brain that you’re in class mode is more important than ever. I’m not saying you have to reach straight for your jeans, but maybe try throwing on some leggings rather than the sweatpants you haven’t washed in three weeks.

Eliminate Distractions

It’s so tempting to pick up your phone or multi-task during online classes. Whether your professors can see you or not, it is far too easy to check emails or become sidetracked when everything is online. Hold yourself accountable and put your phone out of reach and close all tabs not related to your class. It’ll save yourself the stress in the long run; I promise that Tiktok can wait.

Find Your Ideal Space

Maybe you focus better if you have a spot only dedicated to studying. Maybe you’re more likely to focus if you shake up where you’re sitting for class. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, find what works for you and sticks to it to get your head in the right mindset for focusing.

Take Notes by Hand

Taking notes by hand can be helpful for a number of reasons. Many professors don’t allow for technology in class in regular circumstances, so hand-writing notes can help create a sense of normalcy. It also means that you are less likely to be tempted to get distracted. Put your class on full-screen and dedicate your focus to taking organized, thoughtful written notes.

Log In Early

Some technology flukes are out of our control, like when our wifi goes out. However, logging into class a few minutes early to ensure that your technology is operating smoothly can help you avoid having to log out of class or troubleshoot technology issues during class. Spend a few minutes ahead of time checking your audio and video to save yourself the stress and class time. 

Use Your Resources Outside of Class

It can feel a little harder to ask questions in an online setting. Maybe your professor can’t see you during class, maybe some of your classes use the ‘raise hand’ function while others want you to physically raise your hand and you can’t remember which is which. Remember that your professors are a resource and want to be there to help you. Be proactive and ask questions early so that you can follow along better in class.

We know that online classes can feel harder, so do yourself a favor and make it a bit easier by keeping your head in the game! Happy learning, Deacs!

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